Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Finding a Better Way to...Embrace Your Inner Blue!

Hello, out there! Happy belated Summer Solstice everyone! It's officially summer, and I cannot believe June is almost over! June is my favorite month (probably biased by the fact that my birthday is in June, but favorite month nonetheless), so I'm feeling a bit nostalgic as it comes to a close. Nevertheless, time must progress. 

So, a while back I posted about an amazing endeavor being undertaken by this awesome marine biologist I met- Dr. Wallace J. Nichols. If you don't recall the posts see them here and here. Oh, and here and here. Needless to say, I am a huge fan of the work he and his team are doing - communicating why getting in, above, under and all around water to promote our well-being. This summer something very exciting is happening. His book, Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Show How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do is being released in the US July 22! I will get y'all more information about how you can order yours soon! 

But, for now I wanted to talk about the 100 Days of Blue campaign going on this summer in order to promote the books. See the flier below and join in with the fun! Posting, tweeting and sharing your experiences with water throughout the summer emphasizes the fact that the water truly does connect us all! 

As I personally begin brainstorming all the creative way I can get involved with 100 Days of Blue, I considered what it truly means to embrace my inner blue. So, I looked up what a blue aura (or blue energy field) signifies. One site mentions how people with dominant blue aura are peacemakers. Another emphasizes the loving and compassionate qualities of people with this aura. All of these descriptions make me think of one word: calmness. And that's exactly the feeling that washes over me (pun intended and enjoyed) when I think of water. It brings a sense of inner calm. I'll never forget one of my most transformative experiences with the ocean occurred when my summer Physics classmates and I went to Atlantic Beach after a test I had just failed. The failure, the anxiety over the implications of the failure - all of those worries faded away as I stared out at the grand, open ocean. We can all find that same inner peace by looking within and willfully bring out that sense of calm that lies within us. So, as I celebrate 100 Days of Blue, I implore you - find out and embrace what that means for you!    

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Finding a Better Way to...Let Life Happen (Tuesday's Tune)

"Life Happens" by Brandon and Leah was my theme song for 2014. Actually, I'm pretty sure I heard this song on New Year's Day. I literally started off my year with this mindset of understanding and accepting that life does indeed happen. The song lyrics really speak plainly. I even titled my Facebook album for this year "...so many reasons for you to be smilin'..." in reference to this very song. I absolutely love it, and I felt compelled to share it with you all today. 

Today's chapter in the Attitudes of Gratitude book was about curing perfectionism - a condition that I often suffer from myself. This reminded me of another favorite line from this song, "all you can do is let them be". When life happens - good, bad or simply random events that are out of your control - let them be. And, while you're at it - be grateful. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Finding a Better Way to...Cultivate Gratitude

Guess who's back? It's me! This blog is dusty. I mean - it has been MONTHS since my last post, MONTHS. So much in my life has changed over the course of those months. But, I'm not posting to give y'all a play-by-play of my life since September 10, 2013. Instead, I felt that now was as good a time as any to reopen this part of myself. I'm embarking on a journey towards gratitude this summer, and I'm inviting my blog followers to tag along. This is mostly to keep me accountable. But, also, to hopefully help you out, too, as we all journey towards finding a better way to live a life of gratitude.

A Real Fine Place to Start

Lately in church, the preacher has been talking directly to me. Not literally, of course, but in the way that feels like the sermon is tailored especially for what I'm going through in life at that moment. And, this has been happening for quite some time. The first sermon that spoke directly to my soul's current struggle happened some time in February, if memory serves me correctly. I thought it was pretty cool and just so happened to apply to the current issue I was facing. But, then, it happened again. And, then again. And it basically hasn't stopped. So, I took that as a sign that a) perhaps my listening skills got better and b) (perhaps a less vain perspective) God is really trying to reiterate certain truths to me. So, I figured I better not only listen up, but also reflect. And, upon reflection, I realized that there were a lot of areas in my spiritual growth that needed some tender love and care. Compiling a list of things that I needed to either cut out or add more or redefine altogether really overwhelmed me. So, instead, I decided to start with gratitude.

Guided Gratefulness 

Cultivating a grateful life is actually a lot trickier than I had anticipated. Maybe because I have a mental tendency to make things a lot more trickier than they have to be, but I digress on that point. I found that it was constantly a mental tug-o-war in my mind. For example, I would think of someone I was really grateful for, but then turn around and doubt that the feelings were mutual. Or, I would think of a situation that I'm grateful to have, and then wonder if I really should be happy about it. Strange, right? So, I was having issues resolving these oppositions within. It made me frustrated and feel like I was drowning in a sea of self-doubt and hopelessness. (If this sounds a tad bit dramatic, it's because it is. But the sentiment is genuine, nonetheless).

So I decided to seek help from an audiobook entitled, Attitudes of Gratitude: How to Give and Receive Joy by M.J. Ryan. I'm going to attempt to work patiently through this book by listening to only one chapter a day and deeply reflecting on how to apply it to my life. Here's where the accountability comes in: if I'm really going to do this - only read one chapter a day - I need some way to hod myself to that limit. So, I have decided to post daily quotes from each chapter on my blog's Facebook page (Like Finding A Better Way if you haven't done so yet!). By publicly announcing my plan, I'm hoping that this virtual contract I have created with you, the readers, will keep me steadily on track. I'm trying to really work through things and to stop speeding through those areas of my spiritual growth that need special attention. Thanks for you help! (Betcha didn't know you were going to end up helping me today, didja!)

This is the quote from the first part of Chapter 2 to get us started. I've taken the liberty of jazzing it up a little, enjoy!